You can be a business analyst!

If this thought had crossed through your mind, and you are not able to reach a conclusion about what you should do, then this article can help!

7 years of my professional life are spent as a Business Analyst. I started my professional career as a developer in early days. I was a fresh graduate from the university then and did not knew much about the different options which exist and which suits me the best.

After spending more than one year in that role, I did not enjoy what I was doing. Thus I had a very honest conversation about my interests and what I would love to do with my then manager. He was a nice guy, he took the pain of explaining the different roles to me, and talk me through my more or less sticky situation. One of these was business analyst, and it made me very interested about it.

Back in our days, business analyst role was quiet new and the evolution of Agile practices has not yet hit the Indian IT sector. So it was more or less uni dimensional. Waterfall to the core of it. During my transition from a technical person to a person who should only look at the requirement and functionality aspects, I realized that this is by no means an easy task to do. The best part of this entire shift was that I got a superb mentor, who mentored me through the entire transition process. So no doubt, the journey became interesting if not easy.

Speaking for what I have experienced during my learning curve the below things proved helpful in the early years to settle down as a BA.

1.   Interest in reading: You should have more than average liking towards reading documents. When I say documents I mean lengthy documents. Develop techniques to navigate through these documents quickly, learn how to focus on the materials which bring value to you and spend less time on stuff which is just there for the sake of filling it in. The problem you would face with these lengthy documents is that by the time you would reach the last page the first one would be faint in your memory. Thus multiple quick reading sessions are far more effective than one lengthy reading session.

2.   Interest towards how things work: This has to be one of the most important trait which one should introspect about. Are you the person who would like to know how things work? If the honest answer is yes, then you should venture into business analysis. Understanding of business functions and processes from different users perspective is the key to understand the entire requirement set.

3.   Excellent written and verbal communication skills: How to interpret written pieces and translating them to less complicated verbal versions is the skill you need. Teams need business analysts to do the hard work of reading complex texts, and simplify them to easily understandable narrations. It's like turning passive voice to active ones. This will also help in another trait which is logical reasoning.

4.   Logical reasoning and asking correct questions: This one is the most trickiest of all. Most of the time, as a business analyst you will have to interact with a SME (Subject Matter Expert) or who will have more in-depth knowledge about the subject, as compared to you. So try and be efficient in filtering what are the right questions and how these should be asked and when. More importantly, learn how to ask open questions and not closed ones.

5.   MS office software knowledge: MS office, MS Excel and MS Visio good knowledge is a must have. These will help to complete tasks quickly. As a business analyst the amount of time you can save in processing of documents is the key difference which makes you feel either overburdened or comfortable. So develop good skills in at least these software packages.

If you possess these skills or you think you can develop them, then you can for sure make a shift towards this profession. This is for sure not a comprehensive list, but it would help you assess whether you belong to the league or not.

Plan for your transition and be ready to work hard. You can expect some surprises on the way but if you really want to be a Business Analyst you would be able to over come them. Most important thing, don't over complicate things. Start slow but make progress in a right direction towards your goal of becoming an effective Business Analyst.

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